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Modi’s authoritarian character recognised internationally; it is encouraging: MP Ajit Kumar Bhuyan on RSF report

By Devabrata Dutta

GUWAHATI: Member of Rajya Sabha from Assam and veteran journalist Ajit Kumar Bhuyan has applauded the global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, known as RSF, for labeling Prime Minister Narendra Modi as one of the ‘press freedom predators’ among 37 state heads.

“PM Modi’s authoritarian and undemocratic character is being recognised internationally now. It is indeed very cheerful and encouraging news for the supporters of democracy and politically aware intellectuals of our country,” Bhuyan said, speaking with InsideNE.

Earlier, in another survey conducted by the RSF on World Press Freedom Index, India was placed at the 142nd position out of 180 countries.

Although the government has rubbished all the reports and branded it as “fact-free”, in response to that Bhuyan said, “No matter what they call it. It’s their habit to brand everything that goes against them as fake. The important thing is what are we seeing in front of our eyes? The government has learned from its past experiences and modified its way of fascism. They want journalists to be their mouthpieces or else they will be risking dismissal.”

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Bhuyan has taken the reference of Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma and said, “Have not we seen how Himanta Biswa had threatened a journalist recently to call his media house owner up to complain? He did not mention the editor but the owner. So that’s how they want to control the press in this country.”

RSF in their report has mentioned ‘national populism and disinformation’ as Modi’s ‘predatory method’. RSF also alleged that PM Modi has developed close ties with billionaire businessmen who own vast media empires to help him in legitimating his party ideology.

“The government put pressure on the owners of media houses to sack journalists and reporters from jobs. India is now under tremendous pressure of oppression against the press. The government will either lure or send threats. Our many journalists fell prey to that,” Bhuyan alleged.

“As a rule, any journalists or media outlets that question the prime minister’s national-populist ideology are quickly branded as “sickular” – a portmanteau of “sick” and “secular” – and are targeted by “bhakt,” Modi devotees who bring lawsuits against them, defame them in the mainstream media and coordinate online attacks against them,” a part of the RSF report read.

The RSF has taken the reference of journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was gunned down in September 2017 outside her home, framed her incident as “the best-known victim of Hindutva” as well.

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